Focusing on loss or maintenance of identity in persons with dementia may affect how they are approached and cared for. We performed a longitudinal study of 17 elderly persons with early-stage dementia with the aim of exploring changes in the experience of living with dementia. The major theme – a struggle to be valued – was clearly present in follow-up interviews. However, we observed a gradual shift in the concept of being valued: a shift from ‘being valued for what you do’ toward ‘being valued for who you are’. This progression represents a shift from performance-related core values of identity to those that are existentially related. These findings suggest that the self can be maintained by adjusting to loss.